Your heart is an organ that is impacted by almost every aspect of your lifestyle, particularly your diet. Without a heart-healthy diet, individuals are at a higher risk of experiencing congestive heart failure (CHF). As the leading cause of death in America, it is essential to do whatever you can to prioritize the health of your heart.
The first step to lowering your risk of CHF is to ensure that you are following a heart-healthy diet. Some overall changes to your diet should be to:
- Limit sodium intake
- Consume less saturated fats
- Avoid trans fat
- Get more fiber
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of antioxidants and fiber, which are both crucial for heart health. Research indicates that 4-5 servings of vegetables per day is optimal. A few examples of some highly nutritious fruit and vegetable options include:
- Fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and carrots
- Leafy greens, like romaine lettuce, spinach, arugula, and kale
- Canned vegetables that are low in sodium
- Fresh fruits such as apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries
- Canned, frozen, or dried fruit without any added sugar
Low Fat Dairy Options
To consume less saturated fat in your diet, opt for dairy products such as:
- Fat-free or low fat milk
- Fat-free or low-fat yogurt
- Fat-free or low-fat cheese
- Soy milk supplemented with calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D
The AHA recommends consuming 2 servings of fish per week, as fish contains anti-inflammatory properties and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce your risk of heart disease. Some fish high in omega-3s are:
Nuts and Seeds
As well as being a sufficient source of protein, nuts contain monounsaturated fats that help lower cholesterol in the blood, which protects your heart. Some healthy nuts and seeds to include in your diet are:
- Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and cashews
- Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds
Ideal for reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, whole grains contain more fiber than refined grains, making them notably more healthy for your heart. Select whole grain options in products such as bread, rice, and pasta to maximize your heart health.
Foods to Avoid
Processed foods are foods that have been altered in some way to either enhance its flavor, extend its shelf life or to change the food’s structure. Processed foods typically contain ingredients such as sugar, trans and saturated fat, salt, additives, and food colorings.
Many processed beverages like sodas and energy drinks are made with an overabundance of added sugars. Eliminating excess sugar from your diet helps you to maintain a healthy weight, which further prevents heart disease.
Red meats are high in saturated fats, which can boost your cholesterol to dangerous levels. To obtain a proper amount of protein every day, experts recommend replacing red meat with plant protein to decrease your risk of contracting heart disease.
Contact Advanced Heart and Vein Center
If you would like to learn more about how to improve your cardiovascular health, contact Advanced Heart and Vein Center here or call (720) 772-8040 today!